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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dr M: Code of ethics will make bloggers more respected

KUALA LUMPUR: Dr Mahathir Mohamad today called on bloggers to adhere to a certain code of ethics and ensure their blog articles are backed by truth in order for blogs to become a respected medium for the betterment of society. The former prime minister said the blogging ethics should be voluntary because these were for the bloggers' own good and from which they would build their reputation in the eyes of the people.

Mahathir, himself a blogger, said society had access to blogs, a medium which he said was "almost beyond the control of any authority", and that if bloggers were ethical and write the truth, more people would make blogs their source of information.

If bloggers adhered to these ethics, he said, "I think eventually people will come to respect blogs."

"If we are not saying the truth, people will desert blogs like (how they desert) the ordinary media today," he said in his keynote address at the Asian Bloggers and Social Media Conference 2010, here today.

The two-day conference, themed "Reflections of the Social Media Revolution", is organised by My Events International and is attended by about 400 people across Asia.

Mahathir said although bloggers were free to blog what they want, they should do so in a responsible manner and not abuse the medium.

"(Bloggers) should not say nasty things or curse people; don't do that because people will get annoyed and they can take action against you," he said, adding that "even if we don't like a person, we should not say things which are not true (about that person)".

Ordinary press

Mahathir, who runs a popular blog at http://chedet.co.cc/chedetblog/, said it was imperative for bloggers to be able to back what they say.

He said that although bloggers had the advantage in terms of freedom, they must make use of the freedom to shape the opinion towards building a better world community and for the betterment of the people.

"No one can stop or correct you because you are in charge; you are the writer, the editor and the publisher... when you have the weapons, don't use it indiscriminately. Bloggers must always exercise restraint and avoid anything that is not true and things that hurt people," he said.

Mahathir said while some blogs were very good, there were others which were "worthless" and that certain skills were needed to sort out blogs which reported the truth from those that contained mere propaganda.

"Problems arise because there are so much news coming in; you get confused and when you get confused you make the wrong decision. So you have to sort out the news," he said.

Mahathir also said that the ordinary press would not be able to write everything because of space constraint.

He said that because of such constraint he turned to blog to provide him with the space to express his views.

Mahathir also said that his blog was being read by people from many countries, including from Israel.

If bloggers write with responsibility, they and their blogs would become popular, he added.

- Bernama

Lawyer: Did DPP have sex with Saiful? Yes or no

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid - Free Malaysia Today

KUALA LUMPUR: Anwar Ibrahim's lawyers want a definite answer from the prosecution team of the sodomy II trial -- a yes or no if deputy public prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif has an affair with the hearing's key witness and alleged sodomy victim, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.

In a letter submitted to lead prosecutor, Solicitor-General II Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden, lawyer Sankara Nair listed down three reasons for the demand.

First is that the allegation, which was reported by an online news portal on July 22, "has been published pervasively for national and worldwide viewing".

Second, said Sankara, is that there is serious implication in the integrity of the prosecution team.

"This is because the DPP involved is part of the prosecution team and has access to sensitive and confidential information that cannot be disclosed to Saiful," read the letter dated July 26.

Third is the reply given by Mohd Yusof, which was published in the same July 22 article, that had invited much speculation "particularly because the reply was vague and not firm".

"Therefore, your confirmation or denial will be much appreciated," concluded the letter.

Trial may be marred

The allegation was the latest scandal to rock the controversial sodomy trial, Anwar's second in 10 years, and is likely to further erode public confidence in the integrity of the trial.

The move by Attorney-General Abdul Ghani Pattail to drop Farah Azlina yesterday only strengthen this perception.

"The Attorney-General’s Chambers cannot compromise on any issue that can tarnish the image or credibility of the department and we are looking at such matters very seriously.

“This can be very difficult for us but any personal matter, if it can have any implication in whatever form on the department, will be handled very seriously,” he told a press conference at his office in Putrajaya yesterday.

He added that Farah Azlina had to be dropped not because she was found guilty, but to avoid any negative public perception on the prosecution team. He neither confirmed nor denied the alleged affair between the DPP and Saiful.

Anwar, who is the PKR de facto leader, is charged with sodomising Saiful at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, here between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

The 62-year-old has denounced the charge as “evil, frivolous lies by those in power” and had openly accused Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and his wife, Rosmah Mansor, of being the architects behind the sodomy II trial.

The former deputy prime minister is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years in jail and whipping upon conviction. The case resumes on Aug 3.

Perak's Pakatan reps to attend assembly sitting

By FMT Staff

KUALA LUMPUR: Perak Pakatan Rakyat assemblymen have agreed to attend the Aug 3 sitting after receiving a notice from “their legitimate speaker” V Sivakumar.

“We received the letter from legitimate speaker (from Pakatan) Sivakumar to attend the assembly sitting on Aug 3 at 10am," said Pakatan's MP and Pasir Panjang assemblyman Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin.

“We will now attend because the notice came from Sivakumar,” he added.

He said Barisan Nasional speaker R Ganesan had also sent them a notice informing them of the Aug 3 Perak assembly sitting.

“But our decision today is based on Sivakumar’s letter and not a notice from the illegal speaker (Ganesan),” said Nizar, referring to the incident on May 7 last year when Sivakumar was forcibly removed from the assembly hall on Ganesan's orders.

Sivakumar had subsequently filed a civil suit against Ganesan, seeking damages and an injunction to restrain Ganesan or his agents from prohibiting him from exercising his duties as speaker.

But on Sept 8 last year, the Ipoh High Court dismissed his suit on the grounds that the court could not interfere or question the validity of any proceedings in any state legislative assembly by virtue of Article 72 (1) of the Federal Constitution.

Waiting for the agenda

Meanwhile, Nizar, who is also Bukit Gantang MP, expressed hope that the sitting this time round will be conducted according to regulations.

“We have informed them that we want the assembly to be conducted smoothly and in accordance with the set rules. We have also submitted an agenda and meeting order.

“Todate, however, we have not received any agenda from the illegal speaker. So we don’t really know what will happen and what will be debated during the sitting.

“He (Ganesan) did not say anything about the agenda in his letter. There was also no mention of questions-and-answers, written or verbal, so we don’t know what will happen on Aug 3,” said Nizar.

The last Perak sitting was held on March 30 and 31 and went down in history as the shortest ever state assembly sitting.

Nizar was replaced as the menteri besar by Umno's Zambry Abd Kadir when BN took over the state last year.

Hindu mum allowed review of kids’ Islam conversion

Indira is seeking to nullify her children’s conversion to Islam by her estranged husband. — file pic

IPOH, July 28 — Kindergarten teacher M. Indira Gandhi was granted leave today by the High Court here for a judicial review to quash her children’s conversion to Islam.
Lawyer M. Kulasegaran told The Malaysian Insider shortly after the matter was heard in chambers — where High Court Judge Zainal Adzam Abdul Ghani concurred that the matter was of public interest and should be disposed off quickly.
“He (Zainal) asked us if we wanted to wait for the decision on S. Shamala’s case in the Federal Court but we appealed to proceed with the matter. We should not delay on this any longer for it would affect the lives of the children involved,” Kulasegaran said.
He said Indira’s lawyers have 14 days to prepare a formal application to seek a hearing date from the court.
When contacted, Indira told The Malaysian Insider she was merely “cautiously happy” that she had been given an opportunity for her matter to be heard.
“I hope everything goes smoothly for it involves the livelihood of my children. I wish I did not have to fight this but what choice do I have? I do not want my kids to be Muslims and they do not want it either. I had to do something,” she said.
In Indira’s original application for leave last year, she had named six defendants: conversion authority Perak Muallaf registrar, the Perak Islamic Religious Department (JAIP), the Perak government, the education minister, the Malaysian government, and her estranged husband, K. Pathmanathan (now known as Mohd Ridzuan Abdullah).
Indira, who was granted custody of her three children — Prasana Diksa, two; Tevi Darsiny, 13; and Karan Dinish, 12 — by the court on March 11, is seeking to nullify her children’s conversion to Islam by their father without her consent on April 3 last year.
Mohd Ridzuan was previously granted a similar custody order but from the Syariah High Court and has since chosen to ignore the civil High Court’s decision, claiming that as a Muslim-convert, he was now bound by Syariah law.
When Indira’s application for leave was brought before the court on April 2, it was delayed to April 30 for the matter involved complex points of law and would likely be a landmark decision.
On April 30, however, it was delayed again to May 7, pending the decision from the Federal Court on Shamala’s case, which is similar to Indira’s.
However, Shamala’s case was also delayed after her Muslim convert husband, Dr Muhammad Ridzwan Mogarajah, challenged the practicality of proceedings in the absence of the mother, who had apparently fled the country for Australia.
In Indira’s case, the defendants have been arguing that the civil High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the matter as it involved three Muslim children.
But the plaintiff’s lawyers have continued to maintain that, as a non-Muslim, Indira had no other avenue for legal redress other than in the civil courts.
Indira is also arguing that during the time of the conversion last year only her Muslim-convert husband had been present.
He had named his eldest Tevi Darsiny as Umu Salamah; his son Karan Dinish, Abu Bakar; and toddler Prasana Diksa as Umu Habibah.
It is believed that Mohd Ridzuan presently resides in Kelantan with Prasana, whose whereabouts he has refused to reveal.

Storm clouds over Bayan Baru PKR dinner plan

By Athi Shankar

GEORGE TOWN: The acting chairman of PKR Bayan Baru may have got himself into hot water over a dinner function featuring Anwar Ibrahim and other big names.
Tan Seng Keat, who took over the division’s leadership following the defection of Zahrain Mohd Hashim, planned the dinner without consulting the divisional committee.

With the divisional election just around the corner, some suspect Tan has a personal agenda: he is trying to ingratiate himself with Anwar and other party leaders.

Tan has apologised for not consulting the committee, but some members of the division, including committee members, are still seething with dissatisfaction, if not outright anger.

Tan and a few colleagues planned the dinner for Aug 8 to accommodate Anwar. Apart from the PKR adviser, the other guests are Zaid Ibrahim and Chua Jui Meng.

Tan informed the committee of the plan at a meeting last July 17. His critics said this notice was too short and accused him of taking the committee for granted.

Sources said the 25-member committee had not discussed the dinner project in any of its meetings and was not aware of it until Tan’s announcement.

They claimed Tan and his “secret team” of a few committee members and several outsiders had already finalised the plan before securing the committee’s endorsement.

“We were treated like rubber stamps,” said a committee member.
Fierce argument

During the July 17 meeting, said a source, a “fierce argument broke out over the matter”, ending only after Tan had apologised.

Speaking to FMT, Tan admitted that the dinner plan was hatched by a small group of people a few days before the meeting.

“We quickly worked out the plan and fixed the dinner date based on the availability of Anwar,” he said.

However, he denied that he had shown disrespect to the committee members, saying the division had planned the dinner for June and then aborted it.

He said he “quickly grabbed the chance” when he heard that Anwar was available on Aug 8.

“It happened so fast, just three days before the committee meeting,” he said.

“So some of us got together to work it out in detail and tabled it at the meeting for approval.”

However, sources denied that the division had ever planned a dinner in June, saying Tan may have been referring to a public rally where Chua was to speak.

“The dinner was never on the agenda,” said a source.

Asked whether there was enough time to organise the dinner, Tan said the division members had vast experience in organising big events on short notice.

Councillor denies media report, mulls legal action

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

UPDATED 12.11PM PETALING JAYA: Klang municipal councillor Tee Boon Hock today denied allegations of corruption as reported in The Star yesterday which claimed that he had obtained contracts worth RM1 million for his cronies.
"My family and I have not applied for or received a single contract from the municipal council and we will not bid for any such contracts as it would mean a direct conflict of interest," he told a press conference this morning.

Tee also said he was considering taking legal action against the English daily as the article has "seriously damaged the reputation of my family and myself".

"Based on the description of the councillor provided in The Star report, I am the only one who fit the profile: I am in my 50s and have previously stood twice for a state seat in past general elections and was in the municipal council tender board from October 2009 to June 2010," said Tee.

Tee was reported to have misused exco member Ronnie Liu's letterhead and seal to obtain contracts worth RM1 million for 20 companies, including one belonging to a family member.

This morning Tee said that he had been Pandamaran state assemblyman Liu's special assistant from March 2008 to November 2009.

“During this period I had received numerous requests for assistance from the public and the constituents of Pandamaran.

“As part of the service from the state rep's office, I had issued and signed letters of support for those requesting for assistance, including letters of support to the welfare department, on behalf of the handicap, single mothers and others in need as well as those seeking assistance from the local councils,” he said.
Liu: I was misquoted
He added that these letters were written “without obligating any government officials to act in any improper manner”.

“Where contractors are involved, all letters were specifically qualified with the statement “syarat-syarat Majlis Perbandaran dan Kerajaan Negeri Selangor dipenuhi sepenuhnya” and “undang-undang yang melibatkan kontraktor pembekalan dan perkhidmatan perlulah dipatuhi dan diikuti sejujurnya”,” he added.

He also said that he had not issued such letters after he had stopped being Liu's special assistant.

Meanwhile, Liu, who was also present at the press conference, claimed that he was wrongly quoted by the daily.

"I did not 'confirm' to The Star reporter that my 'letterhead had been misused and that the local councillor was now being investigated by the party'," said Liu, who added that from what Tee has explained, he had no problems with the letters.

The state exco member also said that he was wrongly attributed as the state's deputy chief for DAP.
Under state investigation
Selangor DAP chief Ean Yong Hian Wah, who was also at the press conference, said DAP would not protect any members and leaders involved in corruption and misuse of power.

"I would like to stress that the party would not hesitate to take action against those who work against the interest of the public. The party will continue to review this matter and the allegation."

Yong, who is also a state exco member, said the difference between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional is that “we will investigate and take action on the accused if found guilty. But BN will do all it can to sweep the issue under the carpet”.
Selangor Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim had said yesterday that Tee faced a state level investigation which was started two weeks ago.
He was quoted in The Star as saying that the investigation started after Liu told him that the councillor had misused his letterheads to make recommendations to his cronies.

Selangor BN clutching at straws

By Stanley Koh - Free Malaysia Today

COMMENT The Chinese celebrate Zhongyuan, the ghost festival, on the 15th day of the seventh moon in their calendar. That coincides with Aug 15, but some politicians, not necessarily of Chinese descent, have started invoking ghosts earlier than scheduled.
The unexpected bereavement of Selangor’s BN government in 2008 bewildered many ambitious members of the coalition. The shock threw them off balance. It dazed and confused them as they tried to figure out what the future held in store for BN and, especially, for their individual selves.

Not anymore. Or so it seems. They appear to have finished licking their wounds and are now vigorously going after the ruling Pakatan Rakyat coalition.

Selangor BN’s recent actions and rhetoric can be likened to those of a private demolition company desperately trying to find fault with a spanking new building so that it can tear it down just to keep itself relevant and to spite the contractor chosen to build the new structure.

BN’s self-appointed champions have been whipping up trivial issues in the hope that the noise they make will drown out the voices of those recalling the sins of the previous administration.

But it is not so easy to chase away hungry ghosts. Words can mislead, but they cannot obliterate the record of years of extravagant and wasteful public spending, graft, power abuse and poor governance.

Onlookers of average intelligence can tell that BN has conceived its ghost stories poorly and they are not rushing for tickets to watch the theatre versions.

The much-promoted road show about shifting sands and muddy waters is a flop. It has not generated any meaningful interest. Instead of injecting fear into Pakatan, as promised in the pre-publicity, it has shown up the organisers and actors as poor amateurs and losers.

It is hard to tell whether the BN script is supposed to be serious or comical. Perhaps it is a fantasy. In contrast, Pakatan has gone for realism.

To understand the water issue, for instance, one only has to read the explicit and detailed account given by Kuala Selangor MP Dzulkefly Ahmad in his article, “Battle over Selangor’s water continues unabated”. Dzulkefly, a PAS leader, sits on the Selangor Water Panel.

The would-be BN heroes are even pretending to show deep concern for the health of the natural environment, something they used to rape with abandon. In fact, the previous Selangor state government, like many other BN governments, have a dismal record when it comes to protecting the environment.

The sad truths

BN has left a record of poor management of land and water resources, which we can blame for major floods, water shortage, pollution and loss of biodiversity in Selangor and elsewhere.
A biologist with a local university reported in 2005 that eight lakes and 11 rivers in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur had alarmingly high levels of pollutants caused by effluents from livestock farms and pharmaceutical industries.

Mangrove forests in Pulau Ketam, Pulau Tengah and Pulau Klang were over-logged and fast depleting.

The multimillion Paya Indah Wetlands sanctuary was a failure. It had to close down, even though the public had paid RM33.4 million for it.

There are more sad truths. The BN government promised that privatising water services would enhance the quality and availability of household water.

The fact is that millions of homes have been forced to install water distillers and cleansing equipment because of the poor quality of water flowing through the pipes. Water rationing has become an off-and-on affair, partly because of illegal logging under the BN administration.

Indeed, because logging is such a good source of income for BN cronies, many eco-systems in the country have been seriously compromised.

Under BN rule, our rivers die. In 1990, there were 48 clean rivers. By 2000, there were only 34 clean rivers left. It is anybody’s guess how many rivers are still clean now.

In short, BN has left a record of poor management of land and water resources, which we can blame for major floods, water shortage, pollution and loss of biodiversity in Selangor and elsewhere.

But incompetence, greed and corruption defile more than just water and air. They pollute morals as well. The Selangor exco village, the Cairo trip of the state public accounts committee and many other unsettled issues from the ghostly past still haunt Selangor residents and taxpayers.

Comic sketches
In 2006, a Selangor resident calling himself Subra wrote in a newspaper’s letters column:

“I have very little faith that things will ever change for the better as long as this country (under BN) rewards incompetency and throws merit down the drain.

“Corruption and incompetency are rife. My dealings with MPPJ on my father’s behalf were a joke. For instance, it took me three years and countless visits to the engineering department to get the 30-year-old crumbling roadside drain outside my house fixed.”

With all these in mind, one wonders where the current onslaught by Umno and MCA is heading. Political point scoring is one thing, but to exorcise the sins of the past is something else.

Hopefully, Selangor voters are cultured enough to distinguish between comic sketches put up by incompetent schoolboys and realistic plays presented by professional thespians.

The irrepressible Ibrahim Ali

By Stephanie Sta Maria - Free Malaysia Today

FMT EXCLUSIVE KUALA LUMPUR: Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali isn't short on opinions. Neither is he hesitant about airing them, a trait that has seen him courting controversy and fending off brickbats.
But Ibrahim doesn't allow himself the luxury of being perturbed by the roar of approval or outrage that his views elicit.

The straight-talking independent Pasir Mas MP is more concerned with speaking up on issues that he deems are poorly represented or simply overlooked.

In this third and final part of his exclusive interview, he shared his stand on 1Malaysia education, the failure of Umno and PAS and Perkasa's road ahead.

FMT: What will your stand be in the next general election?

Ibrahim Ali: I've been too busy with Perkasa to think about the future of my political career and it's also too early for that now. At the moment, I'm very happy with my current position and if I have the means I will stand as an independent again. But I am also open to negotiations with other parties to enable me to contest in a straight fight instead of a three-cornered one.

Will Perkasa be a political party in the future?

I am against it because we have enough political parties in this country. Perkasa should remain an NGO but still play a role in shaping the political landscape by forming public opinion.

How is Perkasa funded?

We don't receive any donation from anyone. We only survive on membership funds. During our big events, we collect donations from members. But we don't receive any money from Umno or Dr Mahathir (Mohamad).

How many members does Perkasa have?

We have 50,000 official members right now and more than 200,000 unprocessed membership forms.

Do you think that Mahathir's support helped draw in the members?

I must admit that Mahathir's positive remarks of Perkasa have won us a lot of support. He even defended me as Perksasa chief. I really appreciate this. I don't think it's because he likes me but because he believes in standing for what is right. This is what sets him apart from other leaders.

Describe a model leader who truly looks out for Malay interests.

He should be in the government, practises straight talk and speaks up against any groups whose demands contradict the Federal Constitution. The problem arises when a leader manipulates political statements and tries to please everyone without referring to the constitution.

The biggest problem today is the misinterpretation of 1Malaysia by the opposition and certain NGOs. Perkasa understands the 1Malaysia concept as people first, performance now. The prime minister has already established that this concept is within the constitutional framework.

But there are certain people, like (DAP supremo) Lim Kit Siang, who have blatantly misinterpreted it as 'Malaysian Malaysia'. These people are the biggest hypocrites. If we are talking about 'bangsa Malaysia', then let's just have national schools and abolish all vernacular ones. It's ridiculous and hypocritical to talk about 'bangsa Malaysia' while still protecting your mother tongue.

DAP's demands are actually against 'bangsa Malaysia' and Perkasa takes these views very seriously. But DAP will survive as long as it continues using the racist and chauvinist political line.

Is PAS doing enough to safeguard Malay interests?

Its role as a defender of Malay rights was forfeited the moment it collaborated with DAP. Now it has no clear direction. I believe this is why the Malays and Muslims have turned to Perkasa. They see that PAS has deviated from its original struggle and is less vocal on Malay issues.

When issues involving Malays or Islam are raised in Parliament, PAS keeps silent because it wants to avoid the issue being blown up by DAP. But DAP has no problems lashing out on issues that it deems important whether it affects PAS or not.

Even Umno is very calculative and careful when touching on Malay issues following the last general election. Umno Youth should be taking up a lot of issues but its leader is keeping quiet.

This is how Perkasa gets support. We don't campaign to sell it like a marketing agency. The Malays are frustrated because Umno isn't doing enough to protect their interests and PAS is busy selling Islam to DAP.

How different is Umno Youth today from it was before?

I was an Umno Youth exco member and a divisional Youth leader, and I daresay that the Umno Youth today is completely different from what it was back then.

I had to be a divisional head for one term before qualifying as an exco member. From there, it takes years to reach the position of Youth leader. But Khairy Jamaluddin appeared out of nowhere and shot to the top.

He was found guilty of money politics but no action was taken against him. He wasn't a student leader or an activist and had no prior experience in such a position. He was just the son-in-law of the former premier. So what can you expect when he took over as Youth leader?

Khairy's favourite issue is attacking Anwar (Ibrahim). Good lah, because I'm also attacking Anwar. But what about other national issues? Umno Youth should talk about corruption, abuse of power, good governance and transparency like we did before.

We were able to do that because we were clean, not involved in big government projects and not the premier's son-in-law. So we could talk freely on any important national issues. Today they only pick up on one or two merely for their political survival.

Who do you think should be the next Umno Youth leader?

It's too early to predict but there are many candidates. The deputy chief Razali Ibrahim is one of them. If you want someone from the old group who is still fiery, then consider Tajuddin Rahman (Pasir Salak MP). If I were as still in Umno, I would consider the position myself.

How would you rate the prime minister and the deputy prime minister's leadership?

Najib (Tun Razak) is working very hard but the main question is, what has changed since he took over and how do the people feel about the change?

When Najib and Muhyiddin (Yassin) took over, the country was in very bad shape both politically and economically. It wasn't easy for them to achieve success in a short period of time but there are already some improvements taking place. To me, Najib's survival depends on the country's economy. If the 10th Malaysia Plan and the upcoming budget truly benefit the country and the people, then everything will be fine.

Malaysians also place high importance on national security and they have experienced BN long enough to know that this is guaranteed under the party. Right now, they are unhappy with the current situation but if the economy improves, BN will win back the majority and take back all the states.

On national security.

When it comes to sensitive issues, we have to decide whether we want national security or continue pushing an issue because of pride or on the basis of human rights. There are times you have to give and take for the sake of security and unity.

On education.

The meritocracy system in education doesn't work because it deprives the have-nots in the country. Scholarships are meant for the poor Malay, Chinese and Indian students in rural areas, not the urban ones whose families can take care of their education.

I want to see opportunities given to poor students with 5As instead of rich students with 9As. It has been proven that students can achieve excellent results in university even if they enter with minimum qualifications. The government spends RM1.4 billion on scholarships for just 1,500 students. How many of them are poor?

I want to see rural schools enjoying the same facilities as urban schools. I want to see graduate teachers in these schools. Why doesn't anyone talk about the equality of all schools under 1Malaysia?

I also want all boarding schools to be abolished because not everyone can get in due to the limited places. And those who can afford boarding schools are those who are also awarded scholarships.

Between liwat and zina: Did DPP dump fiance for Saiful?

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

As Malaysians digest the latest sexual scandal in town, a debate has swept in over which is worse – liwat or zina (sodomy or adultery).

"If Saiful's sexual affair with the girl is his personal business, then why not the sodomy trial," wrote one commentator.

"It is the same (in that both are considered sins in some cultures) isn't it - zina and liwat. You can say under civil law there is specific provision to (nail) anwar but under Syariah law there is also punishment for zina."

Unfair advantage

Late on Tuesday, news broke that Farah Azlina Latiff, a deputy public prosecutor, was dropped from the sodomy trial against Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim because of an alleged sexual affair with the complainant in the case – Saiful Bukhair Azlan.

The Attorney-General would only say Farah was being dropped to prevent negative public perception of the prosecution, but Anwar’s lawyers are calling a mistrial.

Citing fundamental conflict of interest, they fear Saiful’s closeness to the DPP has armed him with unfair knowledge and advantage over Anwar.

Indeed the latest speculation making the rounds is that Farah even broke off her engagement to her fiancé just to be with Saiful.

“If true, all this indicates that the relationship was very serious. The fundamental issue is that of a serious conflict of interest and this cannot be resolved by removing her,” Sivarasa said.

“We can understand that this must be a terrible time for her and Saiful but imagine how Anwar and his family must have felt each time the government trumps up these charges against him.”

Muslims shocked

Meanwhile, Muslims leaders – shocked at how the scandal has been unfolding – are starting to call for a thorough probe. Under Syariah law, sex outside marriage is a punishable offence.

“With the current liberal outlook, it is hard to be the bad guy to push for punishment because we also have compassion in our hearts,” PAS vice president Mahfuz Omar told Malaysia Chronicle.

“But there is a convention we have subscribed to and we cannot avoid, especially now, when the incident has become so public. We would be failing in our duty to all concerned – including Anwar – if we do not urge the religious authorities to investigate and they would not be doing their duty by the ummat if they did not do so.”

Other pundits also slammed the entire episode which has shamed the country, pinning the blame on Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife Rosmah Mansor. Anwar had accused the first couple of plotting the charges to derail his political comeback.

"The only one I feel sorry for is the girl for falling for Saiful," wrote the commentator. "It is enough. Najib should stop the farce once and for all and start repairing the country."

Let’s talk about sex, please

By Gan Pei Ling | The Nut Graph
(Chalkboard image by ilco / sxc.hu)
(Chalkboard image by ilco / sxc.hu)
TO its credit, the government is trying to introduce sex education in schools. From mid-2009 till end of 2011, the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry and the Education Ministry are implementing a pilot project targeting 16- and 17-year-olds in five schools.
“The ministry hopes to use the outcome from the project to advocate for the inclusion of social and reproductive health education in primary and secondary schools,” Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil tells The Nut Graph. Indeed, with increased reports of baby dumping and teenage pregnancies, having sex education is clearly an imperative.
The pilot project is called I’m In Control, and Shahrizat explains that the module educates teenagers on how to identify and avoid high-risk situations, including assertive techniques to avoid premarital sex.
If the government is eventually successful in implementing sex education in schools, how should a comprehensive sex education look like? Additionally, what obstacles stand in the way of sex education?
Sexual beings
P.S. The Children‘s training and education director Nooreen Preusser says that everyone, regardless of their age, is a sexual being. “Even babies are curious about their bodies and play with their genitals; it’s a healthy curiosity,” she says in a phone interview with The Nut Graph.
Hence, she argues, sex and sexuality education should begin from pre-school, in an age-appropriate way.
Preusser (Courtesy of Nooreen Preusser)
Preusser (Courtesy of Nooreen Preusser)
“We could start by teaching children the correct names of their private body parts as we teach them the names of their other body parts,” she says, adding that that this signals there is no shame or mystery associated with private body parts.
Preusser says that in Germany, eight- and nine-year-olds are taught the basic facts about heterosexual sex and conception.
“The children are not shocked as it is done in an appropriate and matter-of-fact way,” she says, stressing that children also need to be taught to differentiate between a safe and unsafe touch.
Preusser adds that in countries like Finland and Netherlands, where sex education starts at pre-school, the rates of unplanned teenage pregnancies and teenagers infected with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are much lower.
Access to information
Malaysian youths are also not helped by their alarmingly low awareness about contraception, according to a survey released in 2009. Additionally, contraception is not offered by the public health sector to unmarried people, Low Wah Yun from Universiti Malaya‘s Faculty of Medicine points out in a 2009 research paper.
Youths only have access to contraceptive services by private and non-governmental organisations. However, low awareness on the availability of such services and social stigma prevent most youth from accessing these services.
Condoms
(Pic by zts / Dreamstime)
“Teenagers have the right to accurate sexual and reproductive health information so that they can make responsible and informed sexual choices,” says Wong Li Leng from the Federation of Reproductive Health Associations Malaysia (FRHAM).
She says her association promotes abstinence, but “we have to accept the reality that some teenagers are engaging in premarital sex, and they need to have information to protect themselves and their partners from HIV/AIDS, STIs, unplanned pregnancies, etc.”
Teaching equality
Activist and writer Marina Mahathir says gender is a key component that should be included in sex education.
“We have to educate teenagers about negative gender stereotypes; for example, how boys are expected to be macho all the time and girls are expected to be submissive in relationships under social norms,” the 3R executive producer says. The TV programme 3R tackles issues on sexuality and women’s rights.
Wong agrees with Marina: “[W]ithout knowing the assumptions made to boys and girls, and recognising how gender stereotyping affects their choices and relationships in their lives, teenagers will not be able to apply the skills [in negotiating sexual relationships] in their daily lives.”
Wong adds that in FRHAM’s module, they also educate adolescents on their rights and values, and what to do when their rights are violated. “[F]or example, if they are sexually harassed or abused, we educate them on why it happens, what to do, and where to go.”
Wong (Courtesy of Cheah Shu Yi)
Wong (Pic courtesy of Cheah Shu Yi)
“We [also] explore issues on peer pressure, and the techniques of saying ‘no’,” Wong tells The Nut Graph.
Marina adds that topics such as dating, commitment in a relationship, as well as the existence of different sexualities should also be discussed in sex education.
In Singapore, sex education starts from upper primary till pre-university level. However, homosexuality is only covered in one lesson in lower secondary school, and students are taught that homosexual acts are illegal. People with other sexualities such as transgender, asexual and intersex are not mentioned in the curriculum at all.
“We can’t pretend that people with different sexualities don’t exist. It only serves to elevate discrimination against them. We need to create more safe spaces for people to talk about these issues,” says Marina.
Wong says FRHAM does provide information on other sexualities in their module.
Political will
If Malaysian youth are to be empowered to make informed and responsible choices on their sexual and reproductive health behaviour, then having comprehensive sex education would help. However, the government’s attempt to introduce sex education, also known as social and reproductive health education or sexuality education, in schools is not new.
In 2005, the Education Ministry announced it planned to introduce sex education to curb sexual crimes, internet pornography, and premarital sex. The government also considered including sex education in the National Service programme in 2008. There have not been any updates on either initiative.
Shahrizat (File pic)
Shahrizat (File pic)
Shahrizat says many parents worry because they misconceive sex education as teaching young people how to have sex, while teachers say they are not prepared to take on the subject.
“[P]arents worry [this] will lead to early sexual experimentation and promiscuity.
“However, findings of studies carried out by countries that have implemented sex education such as Sweden, Norway and Netherlands have shown that sex education for young people leads to a delay in sexual initiation, promotes abstinence, and prevents STIs and unwanted pregnancies,” Shahrizat says.

‘Hubungan Romatis’, DPP Digugurkan Dari Kes Anwar

Dari Malaysiakini

Peguam Negara Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail mengesahkan Timbalan Pendakwa Raya Farah Azlina Latif telah digugurkan daripada pasukan pendakwaan yang mengendalikan kes liwat Ketua Pembangkang Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

Beliau berkata langkah itu adalah susulan terhadap dakwaan bahawa Farah Azlina mempunyai “hubungan romantis” dengan saksi utama kes tersebut, Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan, yang mendakwa dia diliwat oleh Anwar pada Jun 2008.

Farah Azlina turut digugurkan daripada Bahagian Pendakwaan Jabatan Peguam Negara atas faktor yang sama, katanya dalam sidang akhbar di pejabatnya di Putrajaya, semalam.

Sidang akhbar berkenaan diadakan bagi menjelaskan perkembangan terkini sekaligus menjawab persoalan mengenai hubungan Farah Azlina dan Mohd Saiful seperti yang disiarkan oleh laman web Malaysia Today baru-baru ini.

Abdul Gani (atas, kiri) berkata, Farah Azlina terpaksa digugurkan bukan kerana beliau didapati bersalah tetapi bagi mengelakkan sebarang persepsi negatif daripada orang ramai terhadap pasukan pendakwa.

“Jabatan Peguam Negara tidak boleh berkompromi dengan sebarang isu yang boleh menjejaskan nama baik atau kredibiliti jabatan dan kami sangat memandang serius perkara seumpama ini.

“Ini boleh menjadi sangat sukar bagi kita, tetapi sebarang perkara peribadi sekiranya boleh memberikan kesan dalam apa juga bentuk terhadap jabatan ini akan ditangani dengan amat serius,” katanya.

Tindakan itu diambil untuk memastikan kelancaran kes tidak terganggu, katanya.

Beliau menjelaskan penglibatan Farah Azlina dalam kes itu sangat terhad iaitu sekadar membantu mencatatkan segala nota mengenai perbicaraan tersebut.

“Beliau tidak mempunyai akses langsung kepada kertas siasatan kes atau mempunyai apa-apa sebab untuk mengakses kertas siasatan atau apa-apa maklumat sulit yang ada pada pihak pendakwaan.

“Beliau sama sekali tidak terlibat dalam sebarang perbincangan atau persediaan kes termasuk penyusunan strategi pasukan pendakwa,” katanya.

Mengulas lanjut Abdul Gani berkata pasukan pendakwa untuk semua kes berprofil tinggi telah menetapkan peraturan bahawa kertas siasatan dan dokumen kes hanya boleh disimpan oleh Ketua Pendakwa atau Pendakwa Kanan.

“Pendakwa baru hanya membantu kami dalam menjalankan beberapa tugas yang sama sekali tidak melibatkan perbincangan, penyusunan strategi dan pembentangan hujah di dalam mahkamah,” katanya.

Pasukan pendakwa untuk kes berkenaan diketuai oleh Peguam Cara Negara 2, Datuk Mohd Yusof Zainal Abiden yang dibantu oleh timbalan pendakwa raya Datuk Nordin Hassan, Noorin Badaruddin, Mohamed Hanafiah Zakaria, Wong Chiang Kiat, Mira Mirna Musa, Naidatul Athirah Azman dan Farah Azlina.

“Tugas menyoal saksi dilakukan oleh Mohd Yusof, Mohamed Hanafiah, Datuk Nordin dan Noorin manakala Chiang Kiat bertugas membantu aspek perundangan berhubung rayuan dan semakan kes.

“Farah Azlina, Naidatul Athirah dan Mira Mirna hanya dipertanggungjawabkan untuk mengambil dan mencatatkan segala nota perbicaraan,” katanya.

Anwar didakwa meliwat bekas pembantunya Mohd Saiful di Unit 11-5-1, Kondominium Desa Damansara, Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur antara 3.01 petang dan 4.30 petang, 26 Jun, 2008.

Anwar insists PAS-Umno talks will never take place

Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, July 28 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has nixed the chance of unity talks ever taking place between his Pakatan Rakyat (PR) ally PAS and the ruling coalition’s Umno, even without being stonewalled by the Islamist party’s Spiritual Adviser, Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) Malay party has long viewed Nik Aziz as the main stumbling block towards achieving bi-party unity and political cooperation, an idea that has repeatedly cropped up post Election 2008.

“PAS maintains its stand it will not cooperate with Umno based on its past experiences and without being backed by principles.

“PAS leaders also reject this cooperation,” Anwar was reported saying during a visit to Kumpulan Media Karangkraf yesterday.

The PKR de facto chief added that Umno did not understand PAS; noting the grand old Malay party thought “if they can capture Nik Aziz, they would be able to control PAS.”

Anwar stressed that among the three PR parties – PAS, DAP and PKR – there could be no talks with Umno so long as conditions were imposed.

He claimed that any party looking for unity must begin on the “right premise”.

“[It] must be sincere in upholding justice and stop this oppression first. If not, any unity will be seen as Malays trying to dominate the other [racial] groups,” Anwar said, adding that no one was against Malay-Muslim unity.

“I also say it’s good,” he quipped, “but united for what [purpose]?”

“To be united is so it can uphold something better, not just because there is a threat,” he continued.

Yesterday, Umno information chief, Datuk Ahmad Maslan said his party would not stop its efforts to have unity talks with PAS despite opposition from Nik Aziz, who is also Kelantan Mentri Besar.

Ahmad said it was because Umno was confident there were certain groups in PAS that support its efforts.

“Nik Aziz can say anything but in PAS, there are certain groups. As everybody knows, PAS does not revolve around Nik Aziz alone,” said the deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Department.

Ahmad stressed that PAS was not dependent on Nik Aziz to lead the party as there were others who could do so, such as the president, the deputy president and the party’s supreme council.

However, he agreed with Nik Aziz’s statement that there was no need for a middleman nor any conditions to be set in order for a meeting to take place.

PAS leaders have repeatedly stressed that the party had closed the chapter on talks with Umno and now was focused only on strengthening ties within PR.

Muslim Businessmen Can Mitigate False Perception Of Islam, Says Raja Nazrin

From Mohd Iswandi Kasan Anuar

LONDON, July 28 (Bernama) -- Muslim businessmen, particularly those looking into the Western market, can mitigate false perception of Islam by displaying qualities of a responsible citizen in their local community, says the Raja Muda of Perak Raja Dr Nazrin Shah.

He said they could earn respect and credibility in the market place while at the same time enhance their brand, increase customer loyalty and improve their relationship with the local community.

"There are four motivations for companies to embrace social corporate responsibility, there are reputation, licence to operate, moral obligation and sustainability," he said at the inaugural Oxford Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum here Tuesday.

In his keynote address themed "Religion, Culture and Branding: The Importance of Understanding and the Challenges of Engaging A Global Multiracial World," Nazrin said Muslims, who accounted for 23 per cent of the world's population with the market for Shariah-compliant products worth over US$2 trillion, were increasingly becoming an economic force.

As a result, the rising number and growing purchasing power of Muslim consumers have opened up tremendous business opportunities for both Muslim and non-Muslims, he said.

This also present opportunities to build through commercial engagement the confidence and trust that would ultimately help gain wealth among Muslims and non-Muslims in the common humanity, he said.

Nazrin however said it was a setback that many in the West were fearful and resentful of Muslims and their religion.

He said a survey conducted in 2006 showed 63 per cent of the British, 87 per cent of the French and 88 per cent of the Dutch believed Islam was a religion most prone to violence.

"The rising of the Islamic phobia bring negative images and inevitably stroke into Muslim brand, thus making it extremely difficult for Islamic products to penetrate the Western market," he said.

The two-day Inaugural Oxford Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum which ended yesterday was organised by the Said Business School.

The Tanjung Manis Halal Hub in Sarawak was one of the lead partners.

-- BERNAMA

The complete restoration of Millennium Park

Year 2008
This was how Millennium Park looked like when we first took over the State Government in 2008. The former Barisan Nasional government spent millions decorating this open space with silver birds and trees which disappeared soon after and then they allowed this valuable open space to become an eatery, which was also abandoned.

In 2008, my office wrote to MPSJ and requested for the abandoned structures to be demolished.
Year 2009
On World Environment Day in June 2009, a huge tree planting exercise was carried out together with JKP Zone 1, SJRA, USJ RA, BSRA, corporate sponsors and MPSJ.
Residents participated in restoring the Millennium Park into a green area.

Year 2010
Now that the place is restored, I organised a healthy living campaign for my residents. A qualified trainer will lead the residents all over DUN Subang Jaya every Saturday from 7:30am to 8:00am in an exercise session. This program will be on-going for half a year and is sponsored by my office using the annual allocation given by the Selangor State Government for less than RM10,000.
Early sunrise
Residents from all races and all ages (see kids in the pic) come out every Saturday for this exercise program. Last week, the group has grown to a size of 60 people. Most of them come from the SS13 flats nearby. Others from all over Subang Jaya, USJ and Bandar Sunway. Join us if you can!
I am a firm believer that taxpayers funds must return to the people for their benefit. BN spent millions and benefited only the recipient of the contract. We spent RM10,000 only for this exercise program and the residents walk away happy and healthier every week!

Scavengers zero in on downed unmanned aircraft, leaked reports show

WikiLeaks: Scavengers track drones

Washington (CNN) -- When unmanned aircraft crash in Afghanistan, scavenger hunters frequently aren't far behind, U.S. military incident reports published by WikiLeaks suggest.

On several occasions, military units sent to recover the aircraft -- known as tactical unmanned aerial vehicles -- have arrived to find the aircraft stripped of valuable parts.

In April 2007, a parachute deployed on one that had maintenance issues, one report says. Troops sent to recover the aircraft couldn't reach it until the next day, when they discovered it was missing some of its electronic components and its payload.

What WikiLeaks reports tell us

The report said the Afghan National Police and local elders "will continue to work with [local residents] to recover any pieces that were collected by inappropriate personnel."

Similarly, a report on an unmanned aerial vehicle that crashed in March 2008 reads: "The nose of the UAV is missing and the engine is burned. There are multiple footprints in the area from locals."

Also, in November 2008, a drone had a hard landing with its parachute deployed. The aircraft was destroyed, the report said, but "several components in good condition were grabbed by LN [local residents] before the QRF [quick reaction force] arrival."

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks.org published more than 75,000 military reports on Sunday.

The documents date from between 2004 and January 2010, and are divided into more than 100 categories.

Tens of thousands of pages of reports document attacks on U.S. troops and their responses, relations between Americans in the field and their Afghan allies, intramural squabbles among Afghan civilians and security forces, and concerns about neighboring Pakistan's ties to the Taliban.

The website's founder and editor in chief, Julian Assange, told CNN's "Larry King Live" that the first-hand accounts represent "the cut and thrust of the entire war over the past six years," from the military's own raw data -- numbers of casualties, threat reports and notes from meetings between Afghan leaders and U.S. commanders.

CNN has not independently confirmed the authenticity of the documents. The White House condemned the release of the documents as "a breach of federal law," but simultaneously dismissed them as old news.

CJ stays away from ‘Allah’ court case

PUTRAJAYA, July 27 – Chief Justice Tun Zaki Azmi shied away today from explaining why the Court of Appeal here has yet to set a hearing date for the controversial “Allah” court case half a year after it was filed.

“I will not comment on individual cases,” the 64-year-old told reporters after trumpeting the speedier disposal of lawsuits seen in the last two years since he was made the country’s top judge.

He also suggested that the parties dissatisfied with the wait could to write in to the President of the Court of Appeal, Tan Sri Alauddin Mohd Sheriff, to do something to fast-track the case.

The Home Ministry had early this year filed an appeal against a High Court ruling allowing the Catholic Church to public the word “Allah” to also refer to God outside the Muslim context, claiming its use would confuse the majority of its believers here who view the word as limited to Islam.

But the Catholic Church, which had initially agreed to stay publishing the word after a series of attacks broke out nationwide following the ruling on New Year’s Eve last year, has grown anxious at the extraordinary delay.

Earlier, Zaki briefed foreign law practitioners in town on the various measures he had introduced to enhance the Malaysian court system, including appointing more judges and judicial commissioners, and setting up a digital system to track the status of court cases.

The CJ boasted that his initiatives had helped bring “justice” by ensuring cases were closed in less than a year. In the past, a case could be languishing in the courts for as long as 15 years, he pointed out.

“Every time a case is delayed, it’s to the disadvantage of both parties,” Zaki stressed.

Weekend bloodshed leaves Sri Muda folks in fear

By Teoh El Sen - Free Malaysia Today,

SHAH ALAM: Following a series of attacks over the weekend, which left one dead and several injured, Taman Sri Muda residents are now fearful for their safety.
The tension was apparent when a check by FMT revealed that the police had set up several round-the-clock roadblocks in the area.

In the first incident on Saturday night, 25-year-old factory worker Palsibal Jailani (photo below:centre) died after he was set upon by a group of Indian youths armed with machetes.

His friend Rudy Amin sustained severe slash wounds, rendering him unconscious for a day and receiving 15 stitches to his cheek. Both victims were Sabahans working here.

Police believe that Palsibal's assailants could have mistaken him for someone else.

A news report also claimed that on the same night, Palsibal's cousin, Abdul Rasad Ismail, was allegedly stopped by four men, who asked if he was a Sabahan. When he said "yes", they began throwing punches and kicks.

The victim also claimed that the group had tried to pulled him into a van but he had managed to escape.

In what is believed to be acts of reprisal, two Indian youths, including a 16-year-old student, were attacked the next day in two separate incidents.

'People are afraid'

Last night, a dialogue session was held between the police and some 350 residents. The session was chaired by Shah Alam district police chief ACP Noor Azam Jamaluddin.

Met this afternoon, Taman Sri Muda residents' association president T Mogan told FMT that people here are still in a state of shock.

"We want peace. The people are afraid and scared that something like Kampung Medan will happen all over again. We can't have that," he said.

Commenting on the dialogue, Mogan said residents, comprising mainly of Indians and Sabahans, were unanimous in condemning the attacks and agreed to put the past behind them.

Meanwhile, Azam told FMT that the police are working hard to contain the situation and appealed to the residents to remain calm and not get emotional.

The police chief also stated that Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein have expressed concern over the situation.

"Everyone is very concerned and we will keep a close watch on the situation until everything cools down. We want to contain this and stop it from spreading," he said.

Police have picked up a youth, in his 20s, in connection with Palsibal's murder. The suspect was found with a machete on his motorcycle when he was rounded up during a roadblock with several others.

When FMT visited the Valencia flats, where Palsibal was attacked, residents admitted that there is an air of uneasiness since the incident.

"My daughter and wife are with me in the evening but in the morning they are alone. I am scared and I hope things will return to normal soon," said Sabahan lorry driver Hernani Hamsa, 32.

S Kumar, 36, who has been living here for the past year, said this is the first time he has experienced such a situation in this area.

"There have been minor arguments but never a case where the police have to guard us for 24 hours. This is a sad incident, it should not have happened, we are all the same, and we should be friends not enemies,” said the lorry driver.

Stall owner Hairi Tasman said that the incident has left residents in a state of fear.

"We feel safer with the police around, that's why I am brave enough to open my stall. I am not sure what happened but I am afraid that these people will just hit anyone regardless of their race," he added.

Indian NGOs clear the air over RM1.6-million allocation

file pic
file pix
By Patrick Lee - Free Malaysia Today

PETALING JAYA: After being accused of fund mismanagement, representatives from three NGOs today cleared the air over the RM1.6-million allocation from the Selangor government for the Tamil Schools Programme (TSP).
FMT had earlier reported that the Selangor government allocated RM4 million for Tamil schools annually, of which RM2.4 million was given directly to Tamil schools while the remaining RM1.6 million was distributed for the TSP through three NGOs.

The three are the Tamil Foundation (TF), Educational Welfare and Research Foundation (EWRF) and Child Information Learning Development Centre (CHILD).

The allocation through the NGOs was questioned by the Tamil Schools' Parent's Association of Selangor (TSPAS), with its president S Murali claiming that allocation for the TSP was being mismanaged.

Murali had said that the money should have gone directly to the Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) of Tamil schools.

When asked why the Selangor government chose to disperse the money to the NGOs instead of to PTAs, TSP coordinator K Arumugam said: “We have the experience."

EWRF special adviser S Pasupathi chipped in: “We are not ordinary NGOs. Most Tamil schools know about us. The EWRF has been around for 34 years. We've been doing these (programmess) for a long time.”
According to Arumugam, the three NGOs first approached the Selangor government with a proposal for “developing soft skills” for Tamil schools in mid-2008. They were then given the RM1.6 million in 2009.

“When it comes to Tamil schools, there are two aspects: Physical and student (development),” said Pasupathi, adding that TSP was in a better position to take care of them.

'We don't rely solely on state funds'

Asked to elaborate, Pasupathi said that the services included English proficiency classes for students and transport allowances for volunteer teachers.

EWRF is also involved in the printing of a five-times-a-year trilingual magazine known as Elanthalir, which is provided free for upper primary Tamil school pupils.

Pasupathi said the three NGOs did not depend on the state money alone. “What we (EWRF) get from the state amounts to 25% to 30% (of EWRF's total budget),” he said.

The EWRF adviser told FMT that his organisation had an annual budget of RM2 million.

“We get (most of) our money from the (Indian) community, and we have partners such as Hong Leong Bank,” he added.

Pasupathi also confirmed Selangor state exco Xavier Jeyakumar's affiliation with the EWRF.

Murali had earlier claimed that Xavier was “very close with the EWRF” and that “he had no business with the NGOs”.

“Jeyakumar was an EWRF member for a long time,” Pasupathi said. “He was part of our Klang branch, and has contributed much to the NGO for more than 10 years.”

He did not see Jeyakumar's involvement with the organisation as something amiss as many in the state administration have NGO backgrounds.

“But what about Murali? What credentials does he have? EWRF has been around for many years, while TSPAS has been around for two,” he shot back.

When asked about Murali's gripe with the TSP, Arumugam said: "With these programmes in Tamil schools, NGOs are powerful. If the NGOs are removed, then it would be easier for him to take control.”

When asked if he had any evidence to support his claims that TSP was mismanaging funds, Murali said: “No, but I have the audit report of these NGOs that might shed some light.”

Sodomy II: DPP dropped over 'affair' with Saiful

(Malaysiakini) DPP Farah Azlina Latif has been removed from the prosecution team in Anwar Ibrahim's current sodomy trial, according to Attorney-General Abdul Gani Patail.

NONEAccording to a news alert by the Sun, her removal follows allegations that she has had an intimate relationship with Saiful Bukhari Azlan (left), Anwar's accuser.
Another report by Berita Harian Online said that Farah Azlina's removal takes effect immediately.
The allegations were made by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin in an article on July 22.

This latest turn of events will likely add some fireworks when the otherwise snail's pace trial resumes on Aug 2.

Contacted by Malaysiakini, defence counsel Sankara Nair said that the decision by the AG's Chambers came as a major shock for the defence team.

"I don't know why they are dropping her. I'm not sure if they are related to our query," said Sankara.

Sankara was referring to a letter sent to the AG's Chambers yesterday, which sought a confirmation or denial over Raja Petra's allegation.

He said that although Farah Azlina had been dropped, it was still incumbent upon the AG's Chambers to reply to the defence team's letter.
Unfair advantage
"It is best that they reply to us formally to the query that we have made. If there is truth in the allegation, then there will be serious implication on the integrity of the AG's Chambers.

"This guy is a witness and cannot have access to the prosecutor's information. He has to be treated as any other witness because this is not Saiful versus Anwar.

azlan"It is a case brought by the state against Anwar and Saiful is a witness.

"As such, Saiful Bukhari cannot be given an unfair advantage of having access to the prosecutor's questions and planning ahead his answers," said Sankara.

Earlier Saiful's testimony had raised eyebrows when he admitted to meeting, on separate occasions, then Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and a police officer, before lodging a police report against Anwar.

Anwar, 62, is charged with sodomising Saiful Bukhari, 25, at Unit 11-5-1 of the Desa Damansara Condominium in Jalan Setiakasih, Bukit Damansara between 3.01pm and 4.30pm on June 26, 2008.

He is charged under section 377B of the Penal Code and can be sentenced to a maximum of 20 years' jail and caning upon conviction. This is his second sodomy charge since 1998 and he claims that both were politically motivated.

What? No justice for Mazu?

By Haris Ibrahim,

Some years back, the Privy Council, hearing an appeal from New Zealand, made the observation that one cannot refine the law to a point where the law becomes an ass.

In my view, once again today, the law was made an ass.

The Federal Court today refused leave to former Sabah chief minister Chong Kah Kiat to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal in striking out two suits he had brought in relation to the halting of the project to construct the Mazu statue in Kudat, on the basis that Chong had no locus standi to bring those actions in his name as the chairman of the Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation which, the authorities now contended, was not a registered society and, therefore, unlawful. The Malaysiakini report on this decision this morning can be read HERE.

Work on the 88 – foot high statue is said to have been 95% complete when the authorities brought the project to a halt on 13th April, 2007.

The project had begun after the Kudat Town Board had, pursuant to its letter dated 8th February, 2006, presumably to the unregistered and illegal Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation, given its approval for the erection of the statue.

The unregistered and illegal Kudat Thean Hou Charitable Foundation, in obvious reliance on that authoritative approval, has expanded time and money in the construction of the statue, before the authorities stepped in to halt the works.

Should it now be in the mouth of the authorities to say ‘unregistered and illegal’, when they had previously approved the project?

Should not the authorities be estopped from raising ‘unregistered and illegal’?

Where does the justice and equity in the case lie?

Or is justice and equity no longer a commodity to be expected from the Palace in Putrajaya?

The world has spoke “yes to economic freedom, liberal market, no to NEP and corruption”

By Dr Chen Man Hin, DAP life advisor
UNCTAD, a UN body has issued its World Investment Report (WIR) 2010 on Foreign Direct Inflows (FDIs) of world countries.
the report on the 2009 FDIs into the Asean region are as follows
SINGAPORE US$ 16.1 BILLION
MALAYSIA 1,38 billion
PHILLIPINES 1.95
THAILAND 5.95
INDONESIA 4.88
VIETNAM 4.56
The FDI for Malaysia in 2008 was US 7.2 billion, which meant that there was a 81% precipitous drop for the year 2009.

The DAP had warned many times over the past few years that there should be a change in strategy to attract foreign investment into the country. The steady fall of FDI into malaysia was a clear indication that the policies of the government were unattractive to investors, both foreign and local. but our warnings fell on deaf ears.
Now the day of reckoning has come. The WRI of 2010 has clearly indicated that FDIs to Malaysia has fallen by 81%, largely because foreign investors do not find the investment climate friendly.
LOSS OF INVESTMENT CONFIDENCE.
There were early warning signs. The European Union sent a delegation to Malaysia and they commented that there were restrictions on free trade and were not happy about the New Economic Policy restriction of 30% bumiputra equity. America too have reservations about procurement which favoured bumiputras with the 30% bumiputra equity, as a result of which, America would not sign a free trade agreement with Malaysia.
POOR PERFORMANCE OF KLCI
Compared with other stock markets in Asia, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index (KLCI) performed badly showing severe loss of investor confidence
HANG SENG INDEX STRAITS TIMES INDEX INDONESIA STOCK INDEX KOSPI (KORES KLCI (MALAYSIA)
1990 2750 1500 1200
2000 15000 2000 680 1000 974
2010 20500 2950 3000 1800 1337
The stock indices show that after twenty years, Hong Kong index increased 8 times, Singapore 2 times, S Korea up by 80%. As for the KLCI, it hardly increased at all. It has remained almost static since 1990.
This is a sad reflection of the utter lack of confidence in the KL market, meaning that local investors have no confidence in the economy.
There is a complete loss of investor confidence by both foreign and local investors.
CAUSES this is a grave situation and the Prime Minister should review his political and economic policies of the country, in the eyes of the world, Malaysia has fallen our of the ranks of the Asian tigers, and even below Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. The Prime Minister must change to a LIBERAL, FREE ECONOMY with no more rent seeking, no more closed tenders, and definitely no more NEP. If he cannot change, then it is a matter of time when malaysia will join the ranks of banana republics like Zimbabwee.

MPPP pre-empted as building is demolished

The MPPP has been pre-empted in its plans to assess a site at Pykett Avenue for a proposed luxury condominium project.

All that’s left of 20 Pykett Avenue.

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The structure, which sits on the site of the original Westlands house, was demolished over the weekend before planning approval for the condominium project had been obtained and while neighbours’ views were being sought, according to a source. This could amount to a planning violation under the Town and Country Planning Act.
The Planning Division of the MPPP had only on Friday invited a group of experts to assess and inspect the 3.4 acre-site after neighbouring residents expressed concern and objections over the RM280 million high-rise project.
See what the developer has in mind for the site here.
The developer had bought the site from a private company in December 2009 for RM38.7 million (RM262 per sq ft), according to a filing with Bursa Malaysia.
From a broader perspective, the project appears to be yet another high-end development aimed at the wealthy and at foreigners (notice the introduction to Penang on the project website, presumably for those who haven’t heard of the place).
Meanwhile, the low-income group is gradually being priced out of the island. Will we eventually see the rich largely on the island separated by the channel from the not-so-rich living on the mainland? What about low-income workers employed on the island? Where will they live?
The photo below is of the building before it was demolished.

AG throws Farah Azlina Latif to the wolves

It’s no wonder that truth is stranger than fiction. Fiction has to make sense.
- Mark Twain

Good gracious. TMI:
Deputy Public Prosecutor Farah Azlina Latif was dropped today from the team prosecuting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for sodomy after allegations surfaced last week that she was romantically involved with complainant and chief witness Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail told reporters today that the junior prosecutor was removed to prevent negative public perception of the Sodomy II prosecution team.
The Malaysian Insider reported the allegations last week after fugitive blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin alleged that Farah was having an “affair” with Saiful.
Sigh, as if we didn’t have enough gossip already.
I paid little to no attention to this issue when it broke a few days ago, but I’m a little shocked at the development.
It’s very simple, to my mind. If Farah Azlina is innocent, wtf is the AG doing taking her off the case?
In this country, you can steal billions, you can literally get caught with your pants down, and still stand in the highest offices of the land with a straight face.
I mean. The poor girl. She must feel like everyone thinks she’s some kind of ho.
And in her time of crisis, what does the AG do? Throw her to the wolves.
Just the kind of employer you’d like right? It seems he’s not keen on dishing out the same kind of rewards he himself enjoyed for his ‘service’ way back in Sodomy I.
And wtf is up with this Saiful guy anyway? I’m the last person qualified to make any kind of moral judgment, but under the circumstances, that’s really kinda sketch.